Ministry of Culture
azadi ka amrit mahotsav g20-india-2023

Culture Working Group under India's G20 Presidency to organise four Global Thematic Webinars

Posted On: 22 MAR 2023 5:26PM by PIB Delhi

The Culture Working Group (CWG) under India’s G20 Presidency is organising four Global Thematic Webinars in March and April 2023 with the intent to foster an inclusive dialogue and facilitate an in-depth discussion from an expert driven perspective on the four priority areas articulated by the Culture Working Group (CWG) - Protection and Restitution of Cultural Property; Harnessing Living Heritage for a Sustainable Future; Promotion of Cultural and Creative Industries and Creative Economy; and, Leveraging Digital Technologies for Protection and Promotion of Culture. The webinars will also inform thediscussions and help shape tangible outcomes across the four key priority areas.

Organised by the Ministry of Culture, Government of India, the webinars will be hosted and facilitated by UNESCO(Paris), as a knowledge partner of CWG.

The first of these global thematic webinar addresses the priority one of CWG, "Protection and Restitution of Cultural Property," and is scheduled for 28 March 2023, from 12:30 pm to 8:30 pm (IST). This webinar will address the long-standing issue of illicit trafficking and restitution of cultural property, bringing together experts from 29 countries including G20 members and guest nations, as well as eight international organisations.

The unethical appropriation of cultural artefacts has led to dissociation and decontextualization of not only cultural objects exhibited in museums, art institutions, and private collections around the world but also distorted the collective memory and identity of peoples and communities. In recent years, the issue of the return and restitution of illegally obtained cultural property has gained global attention. Many countries, particularly those in the Global South, have called for the return of antiquities to the countries of origin.

Despite international efforts, illicit trafficking and repatriation of stolen cultural artefacts remains a major issue worldwide. Key conventions like the 1970 UNESCO and 1995 UNIDROIT are non-retroactive and lack universal ratification. Unregulated online marketshave exacerbated the problem, and inadequate databases make identifying and tracking stolen objects difficult. Limited public awareness and capacity for provenance research also hinder efforts to combat illicit trade.

The objectiveof the webinar is to facilitateknowledge sharing on the protection and restitution of cultural property;capitalize on the best practices and experiences;identify gaps, needs, and priorities to combat illicit trafficking and promote restitution. The webinar will also inform the reflection of the G20 membership to achievesignificant reduction in the illicit trafficking of cultural property by strengthening regulation of online trading platforms and social media among others.

The webinar will have three speaking segmentsand experts will be distributed across these segments based on their respective time zone. The webinar will be moderated successively by representatives of UNESCO, INTERPOL, and UNIDROIT with expertise on the topic.Itwill be live streamed on the YouTube channels of UNESCO and Ministry of Culture. The followingglobal thematic webinars on priority two,three andfourare scheduled for 13th, 19thand 20th April respectively.

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